Does Mobile Content Need DRM?

from the think-that-one-through-a-little-more-carefully dept

We’ve discussed this before, but those with a vested interest keep ignoring the argument and seem to think their solution is the only proper one. Here’s an article written by someone who runs a digital rights management company (so, his entire livelihood is based on convincing people that DRM is necessary) writing a very biased article explaining why everyone must want digital rights management technology on their mobile phone. First off, he makes the mistake of thinking in a broadcast model – and saying that the only important content on a mobile phone is going to be produced by some copyright holder, and downloaded to a peon (I mean… user). It doesn’t occur to him that mobile phones are good for communicating and the real benefit to fancier messaging solutions is that people will be able to send things to each other. Furthermore, heavy use of DRM in mobile content actually is a barrier to adoption. If people are trying to get more people to experiment with things like MMS (and not very many people are) they need to encourage people to share the content they do have. I don’t care about the content I could possibly download from Warner Brothers, but I do care about something my friends might send me. They would encourage me to use MMS – and not what’s available from some big media company. Finally, he points out that “it’s in the interests of everyone to ensure people can’t get away with doing this for free” – and, by “doing this” he means accessing news on their mobile phone. Of course, right now you can’t access news for free on your mobile. You pay airtime charges and service fees to the mobile phone carrier. Furthermore, you can already get all of this information online for free – so, by saying that you won’t let mobile users get the content for free, you’ve just told them it’s probably worth their time to wait until they can get to an internet-connected PC to check the news. As mobile phones increasingly get full internet access, anyone who tries to block out news content behind some sort of DRM technology will find that no one buys their news, since most people will just log into CNN via the regular web on their mobile phone, if they need news so badly.

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